It’s no secret that our kids are spending more time online than ever before—now up to an average of 5.8 hours a day during the pandemic, according to a recent Western University study. It’s undeniable that screentime is part of kids’ daily lives and will be for the foreseeable future. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be healthy, fun and a great opportunity for parents and kids to spend time and learn together—we just need the right tools.
With an emphasis on learning-entertainment and family bonding time, Applaydu is a new app developed by Kinder, with educational guidance from Oxford University, that parents can use to turn screentime into a positive experience for everyone. Free to download for iOS and Android devices, and free of in-app purchases and ads, Applaydu is a beautifully designed, animated experience full of colourful characters and avatars, mini-games and activities that promote learning, creativity and exploration.
Logging in to Applaydu, kids get to create their own adorable avatar they can customize. It’s this character that they’ll use to navigate through the app’s activities, which are designed to allow kids to discover everything from mathematics and geography to language and music, while helping to develop organizational abilities, memory, focus, multitasking, as well as rhythm and motor skills.
Parents and kids can work together while playing any of the app’s 13 mini-games, including Treasure Toss, a physics-based game where kids aim a cannon at the correct angles and velocity to collect treasure chests and then use basic math to add them up; Link the World, where players spin a globe to tap and collect flags of world nations to teach kids about geography; and Tower Blocks, a tower-building game that strengthens motor skills as kids precisely stack blocks up toward a rainbow without it falling over. Additionally, the app provides incentives and game rewards, such as unlocking new characters and costumes for your avatar and other gifts, which motivate kids to solve math problems or complete tasks.
Perhaps one of the coolest activities of the Applaydu app is its Augmented Reality (AR) feature, which uses your smartphone or tablet’s camera to bring things to life. We all know that Kinder is the maker of the Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs that our kids know and love. Using AR, Applaydu brings the toys inside to beautiful, animated life. Within the app, parents can scan a QR code included on the toy’s leaflet inside the egg and watch the toy dance and move around as a 3D character. Kids can interact with the AR characters and complete activities and games with them. It’s a fun shared experience that everyone will be blown away by.
But there’s more to it than just educational games and AR. “There’s a whole reading element to the app, too, which I love,” says child and family therapist Jennifer Kolari, author, podcaster and founder of Connected Parenting, who praised Applaydu’s Storybook Builder feature. In a side-scrolling adventure, you guide your avatar through a Savannah- or Space-themed world to complete drawing challenges, play mini racing games and more. The adventure is then turned into a fun digital storybook with words and pictures that parents and kids can read together to relive the experience. “I like the personalized adventure books, and the costumes and little avatars. It’s a place where you can really get excited and talk to your child about, ‘Well, I love what you built there, and I love his outfit.’ You can really have some fun with this,” Kolari says.
Beyond the fun and games of Applaydu, Kolari praises the app for the role it can play in strengthening parent-child bonds and setting good examples and habits. When parents engage with their kids while discovering the Applaydu app together, not only is it a shared memory-making experience, but it provides parents an opportunity to be present during screentime and to teach their kids how to manage it. “If you’re actually present with your kids, whether it’s a video game or something like Applaydu, your kids are so happy when you’re sitting with them and taking an interest in what they’re doing,” Kolari says. “But instead of saying no online games altogether, I’m really big on helping parents moderate it, giving kids the skills to regulate it, and teaching them how to handle turning it off.”
And rest assured, safety and security are top of mind with Applaydu. Secure, PIN-protected parental controls are baked in, allowing parents to create multiple profiles for several kids, monitor their usage and screen time, track game and activity progress and more.
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